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Nikon D500 Fast Start

Lesson 27 of 31

Custom Setting Menu: Controls

John Greengo

Nikon D500 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

27. Custom Setting Menu: Controls

Lesson Info

Custom Setting Menu: Controls

Next up are the controls. Custom controls, and so this is what we've been referring to quite a bit in the camera, and so here you can see all the different buttons that we can reprogram on the camera to do something that we want that's a little bit different. And so, if you don't like that record button because you don't shoot movies, feel free to go in there and change that function on it. And so, I know a lot of people like to do back button focusing, so let's go ahead and take a look at my camera and get this camera set up for back button focusing. So let's go ahead and dive into the menu system, and we are on f1, so I'm gonna dial down to Controls. Custom control assignment, I'm gonna go to the right, and then I want to go down to the auto-focus on button, I make sure that that is on. And see that's kind of the key thing is having that turned on. Now, there is not a control for the shutter release on this section here, and so this section is simply for making sure that the AF-ON is...

set to that particular button. And if I recall correctly, it was a8, 'cause I think I had it like three times in this class. AF activation is turned on on the shutter release up here. I'm gonna go over here and just do AF-ON only. And so now, I'm just gonna turn the camera sideways here so you can see the focusing unit up here at the front of the camera. And so when I press my shutter release up here, it will not focus, but when I press the AF button back here, let's throw something up here. It focuses back here and I figure out where it is, and then I can come up here, I can shoot photos and I can readjust, and the camera's not gonna refocus until I press down on this button, and it's gonna look for something else to focus at. And so that's the key to setting up back button focusing is turning off the auto-focus on the shutter release and making sure that the AF-ON button is programmed to do that back button focusing. If you don't care about back button focusing, well then you can reprogram that AF-ON button to do something you find more useful. So feel free to get in there and customize away. Now another thing I will mention in here is you'll notice that this custom control assignment has two settings for some of the buttons, and that's because one of 'em is for when you press the button down, another one is when you press the button and you turn the rear dial on the camera. And so you can choose double controls for these and so there's actually quite a few different controls that you can add in there depending on how you wanna make those settings change. So the multi selector button, for the most part, really doesn't do too much, and so if you wanna go in and program it to work in a slightly different way. In the shooting mode, I like reset, and what this is is it selects the center focusing point. And so if you have a focusing point that's way off to the side, that immediately gets it right back into the center. But you can have it just simply highlight the point that you're at, or some of the other options there. And so you can adjust that for focusing. In the playback mode, you can have this turn on the zoom, which is kinda nice if you wanna be able to zoom in and check the focus of your subjects. You can actually dive into a deeper menu and choose what magnification your image will jump to. And most of us like to jump to 100%, that way we can get the best view of the overall sharpness of our image. It's gonna be pretty close, but it's gonna give us our best view for judging whether we've got that focus correctly on or not. And then in the live view, you can have it reset the focus point as well or zoom in or off. So that's just the center button on the multi selector. I mentioned earlier in the class that if you wanted to lock the shutter speed and aperture, and this is something that you might do if you were going to a basketball game where the lighting doesn't change and you knew the exact shutter speed and aperture and you didn't wanna bump it, you'd need to kind of jump in here and then you could lock one or both of those features. The command dials, the sub-command out in front and the main command dial in the back can be customized in a variety of ways. First off, you can reverse the rotation. Now, with the exposure compensation dial, if you wanted to go with plus, over-exposing compensation which is to the right, which direction should we turn the dial? What makes logical sense? To the right, very good, okay, so that makes perfect sense, so good, you guys are on track with me here in the class. Alright. But what happens when we are with a light meter that's way off to the left, which direction should we turn that dial? Should we turn the dial in the back? We want to go to the right. Should we turn the dial left or right? Well, it would make sense to go right, but Nikon has us going left. And so if you've worked with a camera in manual and you find that you're turning the dial in the opposite direction all the time, the key thing is to check this box, shutter speeds and apertures, the dial is reversed, and this will make manual exposure much, much easier, much more intuitive, because you'll be turning the dial the same way that the indicators indicate that you need to go. And so it's a fairly buried little feature. Don't ask me why they reverse it, all I know is it's a lot better once you get it back to normal. Next up, you can change the main and sub, so if you wanted to reverse the front dial and the back dial, you can do that, not completely necessary in my mind, but. In here, during the exposure settings. Most of the time when we're setting manual mode, shutter priority, or aperture priority modes, the apertures are always in front and the shutter speeds are always in back. If you don't like that, you can swap that around and play with it. The one thing that is a little confusing for some people is that they're turning the back dial for a bunch of stuff and then they go to aperture priority and they turn the back dial and it doesn't do anything because they have to go to the front dial. And in the Mode A on here in the middle, it'll switch aperture priority to the back dial. And so if you're not comfortable, if you keep forgetting, you just can't learn the way the camera inherently does it, go in and change it yourself. With the autofocus settings. You remember you would press that button on the side of the camera and the front would change the AF-area and the back would change the focusing mode. Well, you could reverse those options on it. It doesn't seem that it's that important to me, but some people hold the camera in a certain way where that's important. With the aperture setting, there are some older lenses that have aperture rings on 'em, and if you really wanted to use that aperture ring, you could program the camera so that's how you change apertures rather than the dials on the camera. I think the dials on the camera are preferable in most cases, 'cause you can do it with one hand, but to each his own, and so that's why we have those settings. Menus and playback can be customized in the way that the dials will navigate through the menu system. Once again, probably not necessary to go in and tweak. And in the playback mode, you can go back and forth between images, but if you use the sub-dial which is out in front, you can jump by 10 or 50 images or by another factor. And so it depends on how you like to playback through your images. If you're gonna go on a long vacation and you don't want to go through every photo, you can have it jump by 50 frames and you can jump very quickly from the beginning to the end of a particular shooting period. And so that's all the command dial switching around. Next up is the multi selector on that. Normally that's not doing anything unless you're moving your focusing points, and you can have it restart the standby timer. I don't have a good reason as to why you need to do that, but it's possible if you wanted to set it, most people just leave that at nothing. Release button to use the dial. So at the very beginning of this class, I gave some very simplified instructions on how to press a button, if you recall my instructions on that. And so let me do it again. So on Nikons you have to find what you want to press, you press down on the button, and then you turn the dial while you are pressing on that button. If you don't like that two-fingered operation, what you can do is you can turn this feature on so that all you do is you press the button and then you have, quick, a six second timer to go in and change your feature right now, or at least to get started in changing your feature. And this is how Canon cameras work. And so if somebody was switching from Canon to Nikon and they kinda like their system for changing buttons, you can change it so that it's back the way you used to use it. Some people prefer one, some people prefer the other. Interesting fact about Nikon is that the Nikon exposure meter used to be plus on the left and minus on the right, and they switched it about three years ago, so I think on the D700, for instance, it's minus on the right and plus on the left. And what most people find logical is minus on the left and positive on the right, that's just kind of how we think about the numbers a little bit more logically. And so with this, you can either have it work logically or you could have it match an older camera of yours which is reversed, and you've memorized yourself into a reversed thinking on how exposure works, and so you can change it either way, but I would leave it at zero, at minus zero plus, that's the way most camera systems have it. Live view button options, and so if you never used live view, if this just bothered you because you accidentally bumped it and you don't need it, you could completely disable it if you want to, which would be the disable option. And then there's another one that you could have a standby timer active, and so the camera has to be in a standby mode in order for it to work. So it's a little bit of a precaution against it getting bumped too easily and turned on. Light switch, okay there's a number of different ways of controlling the lights on this. And so when we rotate this, it turns the light on on the top. Do you want it to turn the information display on the back of the camera, so it kind of just turns on everything at the same time. And some people like it, it's not normally turned on. And so LCD backlight is the normal one, but if you want the extra information, you can select that. If you have the vertical grip, the MBD-17, you can go in and program the various buttons and controls on that grip just like you can the buttons on the rest of the camera. Alright, some specific controls over the movie settings on this. And so you can go in and set some of the button controls so that they work in a different way when you are shooting movies than when you are shooting still photographs. And so various different controls. If you are shooting lots of movies in here, feel free to go in and customize away.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Nikon® D500 with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential.  

In this class you'll learn:

  • How to use the D500’s various shooting modes
  • How to use and customize the D500’s menus
  • How to master the 4K video function
John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This Fast Start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Nikon D500’s settings to work for your style of photography.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon D500 Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Carl Vanderweyden

John Greengo is the best! I purchased a Nikon D500 and this course around the same time. Because of this camera being so complex, I felt that a course would be beneficial. This course that John teaches is exactly what I needed. His knowledge of this camera as well as photography in general is exceptional. In fact, I own a couple of other courses presented by John and I also bought a couple of his books! I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to know the ins-and-outs of this D500! Thanks again John for a great course and your great way of explaining things with clear dialect and great visuals!

M Jo

Wow! What a great class! John is a natural teacher, moving at a good pace and explaining things carefully, never assuming you already know more than you might. I just got my D500 last week and am so pleased to have gone through this entire class. I learned a LOT and took some notes to refer back to. I've also just bought a Z6 and have purchased John's class for that. Can't wait to dive in!!!

Christina Brittain

By The class. John is the gold standard for teaching. He repairs lessons to perfection. He speaks in ways students comprehend all that he presents. Never waste words. Never bores. Always demonstrates his points. I will continue to purchase his classes as they provide the best learning I have found. He is making me a much better photographer, both technically and creatively. You can't make good images if you don't know your gear. Hope he teaches lessons in Portland Oregon one day. I know Pro Photo Supply would sponsor him.